HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Ryan Henning is helping bring the Festival of Lights and Santa’s Village to the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in Dover.
“We are walking by one of our— it’s probably 10 feet tall — one of light displays here,” says Henning, walking near the entrance to the Festival.
There are more than 100 similar displays, plus countless trees wrapped in all manner of LED lights. And Henning’s team takes care of them.
“Our main bulb check takes place at night time,” he said, explaining how a crew of more than a dozen check all 1 million bulbs just before visitors arrive for the nearly 2-mile winding drive that ends at Santa’s Village, where Camels wait for riding, and Santa waits for pictures.
And here the waiting game for Santa has its pluses.
“You can make feed for the reindeer, you can make your own candy creation, you can build your own ornaments,” said Henning, pointing out the reindeer food is really Chex mix for little humans.
Santa took up residence at The Festival of Lights Thanksgiving night.
He’ll be there during the event hours — 6 p.m. Thursday to Sunday — until Dec. 16. After that, he’s there every night through Dec. 26.